TE Blog

“Encouraging Words for our TEAM EXCEL Seniors…”

Hershai James- “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” – KehlaniSenior collage

Juvelle Winston-“Strength does not come from winning your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender that is strength.”-Mahatma Gandhi

Ayana Ford – “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” – John F. Kennedy

Rebecca Childress- “Once you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” -Eric Thomas

Qion Gallon “Wise men change, fools stay the same.” – Kevin Gates

Asia Farmer “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” – Isaiah 54:17

Rebekah Grainer “You have to be odd to be number one.” – Dr. Seuss

Charles Cheatwood “It will take a nation of millions to hold me back.” – Chuck D.

Robbie Marshall “I’m a senior, but I stay fresh man.” – Unknown

Jason Rickman “Don’t put anything dumb as your senior quote.” -Mom

Antonio Moore — “Never give up and always fight for what you want.” – Antonio Moore

Christian Jones — “Keep quite and carry a big stick”- President Roosevelt

Deonte Snead — “ You will never know your limits unless you push yourself to them.” -Deonte Snead



Serve Others and You’ll Be Forever Changed

By: Sherrina Sewell, Team Leader of #DreamTeamIMG_0643 (1)

My daughter participated in Team Excel in 2014-2015 while she was an 8th grader at John Rolfe Middle School.  My perspective about the program was her perspective. I went to the parent meetings and talked to her about Team Excel on the days that she went, but other than that I considered Team Excel just another great program. But then, I heard Alton speak at the end of the year reception and there was a shift. I thought “I want to have an impact on a young person’s life too, I want to make a difference”. Fast Forward to September 2015. My daughter went to an HS where Team Excel did not exist, and I was a new Team Leader to #DreamTeam. I was ready. I was going to make a difference as a leader and role model.

And then….

To my surprise, I quickly realized that the students and my team were making a difference in my life too. I am volunteering in my second year as a team leader and I am still learning just like they are. It’s a different type of learning, but still, it’s something I never expected. The students in Team Excel bring out the very best in a leader. They make us laugh, they make us think about how we can connect and generational differences, they teach us about technology, they remind us that patience and trust are valuable in any relationship. They expect us to get lose, and silly, but they hold us accountable when they need our advocacy. They teach us how to strive to be better leaders, better communicators, and overall better people that serve others. So, parents, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your child’s life. Student’s-thank you for challenging us, trusting us, and keeping it “interesting”. And to anyone thinking about being a leader or volunteer, do it. Serve others and give back. You and those you serve will be forever changed.


By: Jael Nixonrunning

My name is Jael and I’m on the Future Legends. I’m in 8th grade here at Rolfe middle school. This year I wasn’t sure if I was going to go out for track. I’ve ran the past 2 years and it was fun, but this year it’s a lot. I ran during tryouts and my friends told me I did well. Results will come out next week.

For the first time that I can think of, I will be okay if I don’t make a team. I’m not even nervous about it. This is my last year in middle school, so I want to be on it, but if not, I’ll be okay. Even though it’s not a sport, I will still be on my TEAM EXCEL team. We don’t all play the same thing, but on Tuesday mornings we fuss at each other, hug, and get mad again just like sports. Some days we do fun things in the gym, and my teammates cheer me on. Even if I don’t make track, I’ll still be on team Future Legends.


The Journey

By: Stephen Richardson 

Being a teenager in high school is never easy. You can never rely on TV shows and movies for an accurate picture of what obstacles you are about to face. Leaving from the familiarity of John Rolfe, there is so much pressure to excel socially, academically, and athletically. It came with have to adjust to harder academic courses and competitive sports, while still trying to maintain great grades that can help ensure college in the future. That can often become overwhelming. These are things teenagers face daily and how you handle these obstacles can drastically influence life after high school. Sounds devastating, right? These are some feelings I recall having when I started high school.

In the beginning of Freshman year, I was that kid always in a rush to complete work every morning in the cafeteria, until one day I found a Team Excel form on my desk in class. I had never heard of Team Excel before, but me and my friends all agreed to join to see what it offers. At the beginning, I walked in not expecting much, but soon found myself in love with Tuesday mornings. There I was comfortable talking about my grades and had a great time competing for prizes. After months of this I found school getting easier and felt really fortunate to have people pushing me to better myself and that didn’t only care about sports, but me as a person.night to shine

The most I take out of Team Excel isn’t the competition with grades, but the building of my character. With my favorite Team Excel way being “Serve Others,” I love having the opportunities to connect with my community and help others in need. One of my favorite community service events was the “Night to Shine,” in which we volunteered at a prom that consisted of student with disabilities and making them feel special and accepted. This left a huge impact on me and made me appreciate the little things in life. It felt better than any touchdown I’ve scored seeing the smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts during the prom. It helped me realize that every person counts. With that, Team Excel has taught me a lot about how showing kindness and respect to others can often make their day.

Nearing the end of my Junior year, Team Excel has had a huge impact on my high school experience. I’ve built relationships with my teammates and Team Leaders that reach beyond the hour session. It’s taught me a lot about myself, often putting me out of my comfort zone, while encouraging me to strive for excellence. With next year being my last year with the program it’s very bitter sweet. Bitter because I’ll be leaving behind all of these great people, but sweet because I’ve come out of the program a better person. Team Excel shows us values that can not only be used in high school, but in life. I’ll be forever grateful for this experience and definitely encourage others to join.




My Fantastic Optimistic Ultimate Reassuring Years of High School

By: Hershai James20161128_151637

Did your freshman year pan out to be how you expected it? If I was to ask myself this question, the answer would be no. I wouldn’t have expected to have as many opportunities as I did during my first year of high school. The best one as of today was being recommended to be a part of Team Excel. When I got the letter, I was confused. Will I even know anyone there? Will this actually make me successful? Could I benefit from this opportunity in years from now? The answer to each of these questions was yes.

Team Excel has taught me how to BE EARLY with anything I’m involved with; have NO EXCUSES by being held responsible for my actions; PROTECT THE TEAM by being encouraging to my peers; BE CONFIDENT while standing for what I believe in, and to SERVE OTHERS by donating my time to help others. By being in this program for four years, I have made improvements in my personality, speaking skills, grades, community service, and leadership. I believe that half of my activeness around my community and school resulted from being in this wonderful program.

Many people don’t know I attended various schools between Virginia and Georgia. This caused me a lack of friends, a lack of communication, and a lack of activeness. Due to the opportunity of being in Team Excel, I don’t even look at myself with those negatives anymore. I have had a major change with the help of my team members, team leaders, team sponsors, and even my opposing teams. I am honored to have been one of Team Excel’s “babies” to experiment on in the beginning. It is so emotional to see the program branching into middle schools and soon other states. There will be a student like me to have this opportunity and remember for the rest of their lives, just like I am; and that’s what makes me proud.

img_7463Now comes the end of silly moments with my team, group outings at restaurants, activities with my team, group discussions in big circles, laughter from the beginning to the end of sessions, team huddles, getting candy for being early, receiving prizes for winning, and being honored at the closing ceremonies; but I will carry on the relationships that were built, the memorable moments that were shared, and the accomplishments that were made within the program. Yes, this will be my last journey with the organization, but the beginning of new journeys in my life, which I will be prepared for because of Team Excel.